Secrets to Happiness

A Novel


By Sarah Dunn

Formats and Prices




$28.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $21.99 $28.99 CAD
  2. ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around July 2, 2010. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Holly Frick has just endured the worst kind of breakup: the kind where you’re still in love with the person leaving you. While her wounds are still dangerously close to the surface, her happily married best friend confesses over a bottle of wine that she is this close to having an affair. And another woman comes to Holly for advice about her love life — with Holly’s ex!

Holly decides that if everyone around her can take pleasure wherever they find it, so will she. As any self-respecting thirtyish New York woman would do, she brings two males into her life: a flawed but endearing dog, and a good natured, much younger lover. She’s soon entangled in a web of emails, chance meetings, and misguided good intentions and must forge an entirely new path to Nirvana.

From the author of The Big Love, Secrets to Happiness is a big-hearted, knife-sharp, and hilariously entertaining story about the perils of love and friendship, sex and betrayal — and a thoroughly modern take on our struggle to be happy.

  • "SECRETS TO HAPPINESS is smart, bitingly funny, laced with sitcom-sharp dialogue, and bittersweet. Far from a confectionary tale, it reads more like a spiritual journey, one that follows Holly and a cast of supporting characters as they try to turn their lives around. . . . But since this is not a chick-lit book, a guy is not the answer here. For Holly and her supporting cast, the secret to happiness is embracing the fact that, as one character states, it's OK to live an ordinary life. This means accepting a life they would have otherwise shunned."
    New York Observer
  • "Sarah Dunn's novel zips along hilariously, fueled by pitch-perfect dialogue. . . . SECRETS TO HAPPINESS is an antic urban comedy, with enough neurotic characters to fill the cast of a Woody Allen movie. It's great fun."
    Boston Globe
  • "I love this book.  Sarah Dunn is very funny, that's the first thing to say.  But she is also deep, interesting and subtle.  Her characters could be my friends and yet they utterly surprise me.  She is so smart about life and society and the complex and contradictory ways our hearts behave.  "Oh that is so true."  As I read Secrets to Happiness, I found myself thinking that again and again and again."
    Delia Ephron, author of Hanging Up and co-writer of You've Got Mail
  • "Secrets to Happiness is a fun, insightful portrait of the urban professional woman, and mercifully devoid of shoe shopping scenes. Sarah Dunn is a terrifically talented writer with a brilliant sense of comic timing."
    Christopher Moore, author of Lamb and A Dirty Job
  • "A smart, heartwarmingly funny story about modern love in the city. Secrets to Happiness is brimming with Sarah Dunn's vivid characters and engaging voice and will linger long after you've finished the last page. I love this book!"
    Emily Giffin, author of Love the One You're With and Something Borrowed
  • "Sarah Dunn achieves what so many authors set out to do but so few manage: she captures the Zeitgeist. If you can imagine a cross between Candace Bushnell and Edith Wharton, that is Sarah Dunn."
    Toby Young, author of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
  • "Sharp-witted Dunn follows her debut (The Big Love, 2004) with a ... tale simultaneously elevated by its snappy humor and tinged by some reflective shading....  Deft repartee and happy endings all around ... in this smart chick-lit tale with dark undertones."
  • "Dunn charts several New Yorkers' lives in this snappy novel.....  the energetic and witty prose speeds along the narrative. It's smarter than the usual single-in-the-city fare, and funnier, too."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "Dunn displays a rapier wit; a perfectly nuanced gift for savvy, sophisticated dialogue; and an endearing moral compass, which she uses to great advantage as she blithely navigates the fraught and fatuous world of trendy New York's treacherous dating scene."
  • "A savory treat...packed with dogs, divorce, and dizzying dysfunction."
    Marie Claire
  • "Secrets to Happiness ... makes for good, sharp fun."
    Entertainment Weekly
  • "A big-city smart, yet universally appealing, little gem. . . . The hapless protagonist of this topical novel is such a clever observer of modern life, offering a wealth of Exacto-sharp theories that echo sentiments we may feel but would hesitate to express."
  • "Ms. Dunn shuttles her characters around New York with deft precision, weaving their lives together seamlessly."
    Wall Street Journal
  • "Sarah Dunn is a wise and brilliant writer who doesn't sacrifice emotional complexity for low humor--she gives you both."
  • "Here's a secret: Read the book. More likely than not, it'll make you happy."
    The Miami Herald

On Sale
Jul 2, 2010
Page Count
304 pages
Back Bay Books

Sarah Dunn

About the Author

Sarah Dunn is a novelist and television writer whose credits include Spin City (for which she co-wrote Michael J. Fox’s farewell episode) and the critical darling Bunheads, which you would have loved. Her debut novel, The Big Love, is available to read in nineteen languages. Dunn is also the creator and executive producer of the 2016 ABC series, American Housewife. She lives outside New York City with her family and their seventeen chickens.

Learn more about this author